The Nathe Family

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, and the Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home (DCCH), Ft. Mitchell, will be honoring local foster parents with a special dinner and recognition ceremony on May 22 at The Gardens of Park Hills. Two local foster parents, Tobias and Rachel Nathe, will be in attendance. Mr. and Mrs. Nathe are parishioners at St. Anthony Parish in Taylor Mill and are currently serving as foster parents.

At a time of great need for Kentucky’s children, they are encouraging others to consider doing the same. “There is a desperate need for these children to find homes and it’s one way to really live out your Christian call,” said Mr. Nathe. Of course, the idea of serving as a foster parent might be intimidating for many families. Nevertheless, that shouldn’t discourage them from finding a way to help. “I think everybody’s called to do something to help these kids, it could be respite, it could be making a meal when they (a foster family) take in a new placement, it could be babysitting, it could be donating to organizations,” said Mrs. Nathe.

When Mr. and Mrs. Nathe were first considering serving as foster parents, they were advised to start with respite care. Respite care is a form of short-term care provided to children in the foster care system. It provides relief for foster parents from their obligations as caregivers in instances where they must be away overnight or for a weekend. Both Mr. and Mrs. Nathe emphasized the importance of prayer in discerning whether to serve as foster parents. “There are going to be a lot of challenges and difficulties, but there’s also a lot of joy,” said Mrs. Nathe. One challenge is the uncertainty that comes with fostering. Some families go into fostering with the mindset that they will eventually want to adopt a child. Others are only hoping to provide short term relief to needy children and their parents. The goal is always reunification, but a lot can happen along the way.

“There is always the grace of God there to get you through,” said Mrs. Nathe as she reflected on common concerns she hears from potential foster parents. “We came into this with the idea of surrender from the beginning,” responded Mr. Nathe. “If something unexpected or difficult happens, we’ve already surrendered that over… it’s not nearly as difficult as people think it’s going to be.”

Mr. and Mrs. Nathe also emphasized that there is support for foster parents. DCCH offers continuing training, mentoring and family gatherings. “It’s a supportive environment,” said Mr. Nathe. Ron Bertsch is director of Therapeutic Foster Care/Adoption at DCCH. According to Mr. Bertsch, DCCH received 4,694 referrals for children needing a foster home last year. As of early May, DCCH had already received 1,854 referrals during this calendar year.

Anyone interested in learning more about DCCH’s foster care program, or other opportunities to help children in need, may contact Mr. Bertsch at (859) 331-2040.